Essays, etc.

23 Things I Learned from Digital-liberated College Students

I challenged 80 The King's College freshmen to a 7-day digital fast from phones, digital media, and screens (where possible). I had them reading my book Human Rites: The Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments (table of contents below) and writing reflections each of the 7 days. After reading 560 of their daily reflections as they detoxed [...]

Ralph Breaks the TED Talk

“You know, I just saw a really insightful TED talk, and I can't really remember what the guy said, it was more about how it made me feel . . .” —Butcher Boy, Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) Excerpt from "When Rites Go Flimsy," in Human Rites: The Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments: When TED [...]

Why the U.S. Army is Re-investing in rituals to improve soldiering and counter entitlement

According to an expansive survey of commanders across the US Army, the number one problem identified with new soldiers out of boot camp was their entitlement. This seems to be related to other complaints: "lack of obedience and poor work ethic as well as being careless with equipment, uniform and appearance." Additionally, they found that the [...]

Cars, Coffee, and OnScript

Dr. Jonathan Pennington interviewed my colleague Dr. Erin Heim and I (for Cars, Coffee, Theology) about our roles in co-hosting the OnScript Podcast. Ironically, neither Erin or I were involved in founding the podcast (Thanks Matt B. and Matt L.). It's a great Youtube channel and fun to see Erin's annoyance at the thought of [...]

Christmas: a bad ritual?

(An excerpt from Human Rites: The Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments, ch. 9 "Riting Our Wrongs") "We know that all Christians in the early church celebrated Easter, and that Jesus commanded us to celebrate other rituals like the Lord’s Supper. But the birth of Jesus was not celebrated—either by Jesus or his apostles. And [...]

*Human Rites* interview

  Steve Martin from the National Council of Churches interviewed me about my forthcoming book with Eerdmans: Human Rites: The Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments (available for pre-order on Amazon.com).  Click HERE to listen to the interview. As someone who co-hosts an author-interview podcast (OnScript), I was very impressed with Steve. He had clearly read the book—not [...]

New Book: Is the Biblical God Perfect?

The Question of God's Perfection: Jewish and Christian Essays on the God of the Bible and Talmud Series: Philosophy of Religion - World Religions, Volume: 8 Editors: Yoram Hazony and Dru Johnson In this new volume from Brill (edited by Yoram Hazony and me),  Jewish and Christian scholars explore arguments for, against, and perpendicular to the idea that God [...]

Biblical Theology of Ritual Course

I'll be teaching the Pentecost term course at the Theopolis Institute at Beeson Divinity School in May. Here are the details for anyone in the Birmingham area (or willing to drive): Course Description (May 13–15, 2019): “Ritual” is a universal way of describing human activity. All endeavors—technological, scientific, familial, and so on—are concerned with who can [...]